Scholars Digest

Young Professor, Kiese Laymon Scoops a US Grant, Gets Awards $800k in Cash

Kiese Laymon, an outstanding professor of English at Rice University in Houston, Texas, has been given the coveted MacArthur Fellowship, sometimes known as the “genius grant,” for the 2022 cohort.

Kiese Laymon

With his victory, Professor Kiese Laymon became just the second person in Rice University’s history to earn the renowned honor. According to a report from the university’s media, Professor Kiese Laymon used his background as a Black Southern author to describe the different types of violence he saw firsthand.

According to the study, “His work in a variety of genres, including essays, memoirs, and fiction, is steeped in his experience as a Black Southern man.”

Professor Kiese Laymon has written several works, including novels and anthologies of essays. In response to receiving the MacArthur Fellowship prize, he thanked everyone who had helped make him successful.

I’m not a huge fan of accolades, but this one seems special. This was done by Mississippi and revision. Simply, I’m grateful. My work was deemed acceptable by some very remarkable people. That means a lot to me,” Laymon remarked about the camaraderie.

As a member of the 2022 Cohort of MacArthur Fellows, Professor Kiese Laymon earned a grant of $800,000. The recipients are free to utilize the money any way they see right.


Reginald DesRoches, the president of Rice University, hailed Professor Kiese Laymon’s victory as a major triumph for the institution. This is a significant victory for Kiese, Rice’s School of Humanities, and the institution overall, he said.

The university president said, “Anytime one of our academics’ works is acknowledged by a distinguished institution like the MacArthur Foundation, it sheds a light on the extraordinarily high-caliber faculty at Rice and the effect of their research, scholarship, and creative activities.

Amy Dittmar, the university provost, praised Professor Kiese Laymon for his great performance and for leaving such a lasting impression at Rice University in such a short amount of time.

“Despite just joining Rice recently, Kiese has already had a significant influence on our students and our School of Humanities. We are delighted that he has joined the Rice family. His exceptional talent and upcoming achievements in his profession are definitely deserving of this prize, Amy Dittmar remarked.

Professor Laymon acknowledged his joy at receiving the honor while still employed at Rice University. “I’m really glad that this occurred while I was still attending Rice. My Jackson family values MacArthur greatly, particularly during this time. Professor Laymon stated, “I hope it could signify a lot to Rice and Houston.

He wants to “work on artistic links between middle school children in Houston and Jackson” using some of the grant money.

Professor Kiese Laymon said, “I’m incredibly grateful my mother pushed me to keep doing bold, or as she would say, “great,” — art, regardless of what.

CTA on Kiese Laymon’s Story

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